Qantas’ new Brisbane to Chicago service compared
The airline plans new US services from April 2020.
Qantas has officially confirmed it is planning to launch a new Brisbane to Chicago service in April 2020.
The long-rumoured service was contingent on Qantas' long-simmering joint venture with oneworld partner American Airlines receiving regulatory approval. The joint venture received preliminary approval from the US Department of Transport (DOT) earlier this month, with final approval expected later this year.
Qantas is also planning services from Brisbane to San Francisco three times a week. That's a helpful addition too, but it's less exciting than the Chicago route because Qantas already flies to San Francisco from Sydney and Melbourne.
So what will the new Chicago service involve?
Qantas will fly four times a week between Brisbane and Chicago. With a typical flying time of 16 hours and 20 minutes, it's the second-longest flight Qantas operates. The champion remains its Perth to London service which takes 16 hours and 45 minutes, while Sydney to Dallas services take up position number 3.
The service will use the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a popular choice for long-haul routes because of its fuel efficiency. We can expect to see Business, Premium Economy and Economy seats, though final configurations haven't been confirmed by Qantas.
Chicago is one of American Airlines' key hubs, so passengers will be able to make connections to a wide range of destinations. Direct flights from Brisbane to Chicago certainly compare favourably with current routings offered through Los Angeles or Dallas. Qantas says a typical traveller to Chicago will save six hours compared to current arrangements.
It's also likely to be more efficient to fly from other Australian capitals to Brisbane and on to Chicago for some routes, though we won't be able to judge until the final timetables are released when the route officially goes on sale.
A key question for frequent flyers will be the number of reward seats. We've seen virtually no Business Classic Rewards on the Perth to London route, and availability is often scarce on the Sydney to Dallas service.
Right now, booking a one-way flight from Brisbane to Chicago requires 112,000 Qantas Points for Business, 84,000 for Premium Economy or 55,000 for Economy.
So it's possible I'll be adding this flight to my rewards bucket list, but the final decision will depend on availability.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
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